OZ Cabbie Mar 2015
By the time you read this there is a big chance that the NSW State Election on the 28 March is done and dusted. The last time I checked BetFair the odds for Michael “Bambi” Baird were 1.9 while Labor’s Luke Foley was lingering at 15.1. Well, not bad for a bloke hardly anyone knows.
The truth of course is that the voters are truly pissed of with both major parties, certainly at the federal level, and that could cause a few upsets for Baird in NSW with his majority severely reduced. However, unlike Victoria and Queensland, the worst that can happen to the LNP here is a house full of independents and Greens. That at least would make the next four years interesting.
Are you a bailee taxi driver? Do you believe that you should be getting superannuation? It is an issue that has been on and off the table in NSW since 1992. So far the industry mafia has won every battle, but it hasn’t won the war yet. The battle currently raging in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission could have repercussions right around the country, a battle with, on one side the NSW Taxi Council and on the other the Transport Workers Union and the Australian Taxi Drivers’ Association. The NSW Taxi Operators and Drivers Association, formerly the NSW Taxi Drivers’ Association until last month, when it was hijacked by a small number of fleet operators, is too compromised to get involved. It is simply impossible to have an association that can fairly represent the interests of both operators and bailee drivers in industrial relation matters. Read more about the battle for super in Super for cabbies? Don’t be bloody stupid!.
The Victorian Labor Government has made good on an election promise to the taxi industry, that it would establish a new Taxi and Hire Car Ministerial Forum. The Victorian Taxi Families heralds it as “the beginning of a new era”. Their optimism is endearing. It will meet quarterly and the first meeting is scheduled for 27 April, too late unfortunately to be covered in our next issue...I hope.
Uber asked me to write to my MP and tell him/her how much I love Uber. Instead I have written an ‘open letter’ to federal shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh who has been very busy lately spruiking his enthusiasm for the ‘sharing economy’ including our archenemy Uber. You can read the letter in “Open letter” to federal shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh.
There are apparently big things happening in the Cabcharge bunker in Riley Street, East Sydney. Cabcharge has announced it will be launching the app or all apps in June. Trials are already underway. I have unconfirmed reports that it will be called iHail, which is the name advertised by Black and White Cabs in Brisbane for their current app. If my source is right the Cabcharge app, which it plans to roll out nationally to any network that wants it, will be missing the most popular feature offered by ingogo, gocatch and Uber - that drivers and passengers can communicate directly with each other by phone and text. If the industry mafia really wants to compete with the newcomers the will need to copy their best features. An app that directs all communication through the network just won’t make the cut.
One of the more unique and undesirable features of the Victorian taxi industry is its Taxi Clubs. Fels should have gotten rid of them as part of his reforms or at the very least have made it compulsory for them to be properly accredited through ASIC, the regulator. More in TSC fails to act on unscrupulous taxi clubs.
The Footscray Legal Service which runs a free legal service for taxi drivers has been busy taking on not only the shonky taxi clubs who are diddling their members (owner-drivers) and their drivers out of thousands of dollars, but also their equally shonky lawyers. It is supported by George Karas, CEO of Taxicare, who has spent the past 10 years trying to get rid of dodgy insurance providers. If you have a problem with your taxi club you can contact Footscray Legal Service on (03) 9689 8444.
Keep up the spirit.